“We’re out of milk,” Sherlock says.
Well. He sort-of says it. To be honest, John’s not exactly sure what’s going on.
“No.” John says. He can’t believe he’s replying aloud. “Sherlock. We’re not. I bought milk yesterday. I went to the store. I’ve had what, maybe two cups of tea since then? I never drink it straight.”
“I could have drunk it.” Sherlock doesn’t look at him. He just continues to read the paper from his spot on John’s new sofa. (The teal one he found at Oxfam, the only sofa there that didn’t somehow remind him of Sherlock.)
John snorts. “Yeah, maybe you could have done, Sherlock, if you weren’t already dead.”
“Oh,” Sherlock puts down the paper. “Did you want me to go?”
John glares at Sherlock. You know me better than that, he thinks. You know I’d do anything to keep you here, even if I am going mad. I’ve been through for too many days, and having you back feels like re-learning to breathe.
Sherlock smirks, just the tiniest bit, exactly the way…well. Call a spade a spade: Exactly the way he did when he was alive.
“I didn’t think so,” Sherlock says. “No, I think you’re right John. Well observed. I didn’t have any milk to drink.” He gestures to himself, smirk still firmly set in place. “Since, as you know, I’m dead and all.”
“Fuck off,” John mutters. He mutters to his subconscious manifestation of his flatmate that he’s been seeing for forty-eight hours now.
Christ, he’s insane. He’s actually insane.
He should call up Ella. She said that, actually, she told John to call if there were any new developments. But he sat there in her office yesterday and didn’t say a bloody word. For the first time all day Sherlock hadn’t been there, he had just showed up that morning and then when John went to see Ella Sherlock went missing again and good God John didn’t want to make Sherlock go away, even if he couldn’t possibly be real.
He told himself that if Sherlock was really gone now, then he was cured, he needn’t tell her.
He figured if it was only a temporary loss of Sherlock…Well. He didn’t know what to think about the possibility he might still be crazy. That would mean seeing more of Sherlock. John couldn’t deny the thrill that thought sent down his spine.
It’d been three years, for Christ’s sake. Why now, Sherlock? He had asked. Or he had wanted to ask. He hadn’t had the courage to say it aloud. I’ve wanted you back for three years. I’ve prayed to be haunted by my better days. Why now?
So he hadn’t said anything to Ella about his hallucination.
“No, I don’t think I ought to ‘fuck off,’” Sherlock tells John now. He speaks slowly. John looks up at Sherlock. “I think we’ve well established you don’t actually want me to do that.”
“You’re here for good, then?” John says. He means it to be sarcastic, disbelieving. He’s speaking to a bloody ghost, after all. It comes out less certain than he had hoped. He purses his lips.
“John Watson,” Sherlock says, his lips curling into a full-fledged smile. “I once heard you pray for a miracle…”